Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hiking - Whiteface Mountain

Holly's working on climbing the Adirondack 46 (I finished in 1990), so today we went to climb Whiteface Mountain, near Wilmington, NY. At 4,867 feet, Whiteface is the 5th highest peak in New York State, and though it has a tourist road to the summit, that road closed for the season yesterday, so there would be no hordes of tourists as there are in season.

We approached Whiteface via the shortest route, 7.8 miles round trip with 3000+ feet of elevation gain. This route begins by first climbing Marble Mountain from the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, just outside the beginning of the summit toll road. This center occupies the former Marble Mountain ski lodge, and the trail to Marble follows the route of the ski center's old T-bar lift. That means it goes straight up without a break for almost a mile. We stopped on Marble to take in the views, and continued on, reaching the summit of Whiteface in several hours, as the clouds began lowering. The wind was consistently between 25-40 mph with occasional spits of drizzle. Views were less than the usual spectacular as views go, because of the weather and the fact that the fall foliage was well past peak. The views are so expansive that photos hardly do them justice, but here are a few that came out sort of OK.

This rainbow appeared off to the northeast as showers continued off and on all around us.

This view is looking to the southeast. On a clearer day, Lake Champlain and Vermont would be visible in the distance. The town of Wilmington can be seen in the lower center foreground.

The "money view" from Whiteface is certainly the one toward Lake Placid and the other Adirondack High Peaks far in the distance. The village of Lake Placid is actually on Mirror Lake, in the upper left corner of its namesake lake in this picture. The High Peaks were very nicely silhouetted against some brighter sky, but that was very difficult to capture under these conditions.

Since the wind was blowing between 25 and 40 mph, with threatening skies, we had a quick lunch, snapped whatever pictures we could, and headed back down, reaching the car a little before dark. Mostly, we stayed dry, with one heavier shower as we came back down the T-bar trail. Dinner at Pitkin's in Schroon Lake on the way home, and now straight to bed.

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